Tag Archives: HIV

Could the Zika Virus be Devastating to People with MS?

100_0262      The Zika virus is being called a worldwide health crisis mostly because of its apparent effects on pregnant women and a high rate of microcephaly which is a rare birth defect. This virus is already suspected as having a link to Guillain-Barre syndrome which has also been suspected as a possible trigger of multiple sclerosis in people who are, or might, be genetically predisposed to developing this auto-immune disorder. And Guillain-Barre syndromes symptoms can include severe fatigue and varying degrees of temporary partial paralysis. Sound familiar?

     The good news is that this mosquito-borne virus has so far been contained in more tropical environments than where MS is generally to be found. But even this offer’s only a minimal amount of comfort as this virus also seems to be able to be transmitted from one human host to a mosquito while being bitten. If this does in fact turn out to be the case then any person who travels to an area where Zika is prevalent could be infected and return to a home in the northern hemisphere during summer months and quite possibly transmit the disease to the local mosquito population thus spreading it to a brand new geographical location where MS is much more prevalent. And if all of that isn’t bad enough it has already been discovered that this disease can also be transmitted through sexual contact much like a sexually transmitted disease.

     At the moment, main street science is saying that they doubt that the Zika virus is a cause for panic as the symptoms in healthy individuals have for the most part been mild and short lived something akin to having the flu virus for a few days or up to perhaps a week. But as yet we don’t know how this virus might affect someone with a compromised immune system like those of us with multiple sclerosis who already suffer from some very similar symptoms as to what some of the more severe cases are reporting.

     What bothers me the most is that I remember this other little virus that was supposed to be nothing more than a wimpy little pest that otherwise shouldn’t be much to worry about? And that wimpy little virus HIV, turned out to be the cause of AIDS!

 

Bill Walker

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MS Countdown to the CURE

   

Santa at the Mall

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

      Everyone already knows that cracking the code for the cure of multiple sclerosis is something akin to putting all the right colors back in all the right places on a Rubik’s cube on the very first try. It can take months, or perhaps even years, to figure the right sequence of turns before you finally get it right. In my case I never did get my cube back to its beginning point. I think it still lingers at the bottom of a box somewhere in a closet?

     Fortunately, MS researchers have more patience than I do, and if you’ve been paying attention to recent studies you would also have noticed that major pieces of the puzzle are finally starting to fall into place when it comes to understanding and eventually curing multiple sclerosis. And in this first case, it happened almost by mistake.

     Many researchers over the years have believed that MS has some kind of link to a viral infection of some kind. But viruses are incredibly difficult to see even with our advanced medical technology. And it’s only been in the very recent past that we have finally been able to unlock some of the very basic properties of viruses giving us the ability to fight back against them. And in this case it was a different virus, the one that causes Aids which may have finally taken us a giant leap forward to understanding multiple sclerosis.

     Just a few weeks back the following story was released about a woman over in England who had a rather severe case of multiple sclerosis which she had lived with for many years however this doesn’t seem to have affected her sex drive to any great extent leading her to a night of unprotected sex. A few days after her encounter she found out that her partner may well have been HIV positive sending her to her family physician in a panicked state. Her doctor immediately started her on a cocktail of powerful antiviral IV drugs that have shown great potential in knocking out the HIV virus especially when started right after the initial possible infection.

     In a matter of days after her release from the hospital this woman who had been using a wheelchair for several years suddenly found herself able to get up and walk short distances. And after a few weeks she noticed both her strength and energy levels returning to what she felt was a much more normal level where she was able to walk much greater distances as well as even climb stairs with the help of a cane. She also experienced rapid improvement in her eyesight which had required the use of prescription glasses for many years.

     This all happened a little over a year ago and she has continued to improve and regain a great deal of normal function ever since. In fact her improvement has been so startling that doctors and researchers in England, Australia, and North America have all started the process of putting together clinical trials to see if these results can be duplicated.

     On a different front doctors and researchers are starting to unlock not only the secrets to repairing the myelin sheathing that protects the nerve pathways but also finding a number of very cheap drugs that help the bodies own ability to do just that with out the need of stem cells. Which in their own right are also showing great promise in the treatment of not only MS but many other ailments as well, including the repair of major organs like heart muscle tissue.

     And finally, a brand new drug treatment, that has already passed through clinical trials and is waiting for FDA approval, is being called ground breaking in its effectiveness against MS. The drug Ocrelizumab is reversing damage to the nervous system most likely by remyelination in the central nervous system, though further research is still needed to prove this. However patients in the study are claiming and showing vast improvement from their previous symptoms. And FDA approval could come sometime early in 2016.

     These recent stories give me tremendous hope that the cure for not only MS, but perhaps many if not all of the disorders that are classified as autoimmune diseases, might soon be a thing of the past!

 By Bill Walker

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Can MS Burn Itself Out?

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Freeze MS in its Tracks!

     100_0260My very first Neurologist, and the one who eventually diagnosed me, made a comment during one of my appointments that perhaps my Multiple Sclerosis would just burn itself out eventually. At the time I kind of thought that he was just trying to give me some hope in the face of this awful diagnosis. And now, just a few days ago, I had my first appointment with my fourth Neurologist since that time sixteen years ago. And he also stated that there was some evidence that MS can perhaps burn itself out over time.

     Recently I was reading a report out of Australia where a man with a diagnosis of both Multiple Sclerosis and HIV was given one of the new generation antiviral drugs that are currently in the trial phase of their studies. And a remarkable thing happened, not only did it knock out his HIV which is what it was being tested for, it also seemed to cure him of his MS. Which leads one to believe that it is possible that the under lying cause of Multiple Sclerosis may be a virus, or retrovirus, after all. Scientist have long been looking at the Epstein Barr virus as a possible disease inducing event in MS but no conclusive evidence has yet linked the two positively.

     We already know that virus’s like the Cold and Flu virus do in fact burn themselves out, thankfully, or we would all have been dead a long time ago, so if Multiple Sclerosis were confirmed to be from either a virus, or pieces of a retrovirus, then the answer to the question about MS being able to burn itself out should be yes. But even more important than that, is these new antiviral drugs that will soon be coming on the market, because if MS is being caused by a response to a viral attack then perhaps a cure for Multiple Sclerosis is only a few years away which of course is something that we have all prayed for as long as we’ve had this devastating disorder.

     I do know this, if they need any volunteers for that clinical trial, I sure wouldn’t say no if asked to participate in it. This sounds just to promising to not be interested in following the future research!

 

Bill Walker